Sister Clara Fehringer, OSU, serves as the Parish Life Director at Historic Saint Paul Roman Catholic Church in Lexington, Kentucky. Their mission statement reads:
“We are Catholics making a difference in downtown Lexington. A diverse and inclusive community welcoming everyone with open arms!”
The following is her reflection on the Gospel of Saint Luke, from the Twentieth Sunday in Ordinary Time, August 18, 2019.
Jesus came to set the earth on fire—we hear this in the Gospel. His message can cause a lot of division if lived properly and according to the Gospel we read.
In front of our church we have had many banners throughout the past few years. They generate much discussion and have caused some people to write ugly emails and even leave this parish. Our advocacy for immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ, and even reasonable gun control is absolutely congruent with the Gospel but has caused division. Some say the answer is to be quiet. Others claim we are being “political.” We are actually being faithful to the Gospel, to Jesus.
Racism is another hot topic. What would Jesus say about racist behavior, rhetoric, attitudes? His words would cause division, for sure.
What would Jesus say about ICE raids that separate children from families?
Would Jesus have strong words for those who use strong words to demean people from other countries, differing sexualities, or different manners of thinking or living?
Today’s Gospel should hit home. Jesus has set a fire and the Gospel causes division. On whose side of the divide are you, am I? Are we on fire with the Gospel? If so, are we willing to take risks to build the community of the beloved?
Jesus: A Cause of Division.
“I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing!
There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished!
Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth?
No, I tell you, but rather division.
From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three;
a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”